Abstract

The Journal of Statistical Software (JSS) is an open-source and open-access scientific journal by the statistical software community for everybody interested in statistical computing. All aspects of the journal, from editorial work over review and copy-editing up to typesetting and publication, are run by a group of volunteers committed to free software (as in software that respects the users' essential freedoms: the freedom to run it, to study and change it, and to redistribute copies with or without changes) and free-subscription, free-submission open-access publishing ideas. Therefore, and as a matter of principle, JSS charges no author fees or subscription fees. The journal does expect the same level of commitment from authors seeking to publish in JSS. Authors will have to accept a high level of responsibility throughout the whole publishing process, including the preparation of the final publishable versions of article and software. Due to the steadily increasing number of incoming and accepted submissions and limited volunteer resources, publication times can be rather long. Compliance by authors to JSS standards and instructions typically speeds-up this process considerably.

This document provides detailed information for authors intending to submit a contribution to JSS.

General Information

Types of Papers

JSS publishes the following types of original contributions:

  1. Scholary articles describing statistical software implemented in any language, together with the actual software in human-readable form (peer-reviewed).
  2. “Code snippets”: descriptions of smaller code projects in any language (peer-reviewed).
  3. Special issues on topics in statistical computing and software (by invitation, guest editors, peer-reviewed, suggestions welcome).
  4. Reviews of books on statistical computing and software (by invitation, suggestions welcome).
  5. Reviews and comparisons of closed-source statistical software (by invitation, suggestions welcome).

The typical JSS paper will have a section explaining the statistical technique, a section explaining the code, a section with the actual code, and a section with examples. Special emphasis is given to a careful review of existing implementations and a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the contribution in comparison to other solutions. All sections will be made browsable as well as downloadable. The papers and code should be accessible to a broad community of practitioners, teachers, and researchers in the field of statistics.

Requirements

All new submissions must provide attachments or links to

  1. PDF manuscript in JSS style,
  2. source code for the software and
  3. replication materials for all results from the manuscript, preferably via a standalone replication script.

The replication materials must enable reproducibility of all results from the manuscript (see also Review Process).

Software Preparation

Source code must be submitted in ASCII files. It should be readable and have comments. For software environments with package/library systems (e.g., R, S, Stata, etc.), the code should come with formatted help files and should be packaged for easy installation. If at all possible, submitted software should also be available from a standard repository. For R packages, we encourage inclusion of JSS submissions as vignettes of CRAN packages. Please note that JSS only allows file uploads up to a maximum size of 50 megabyte (MB). If there is a need for bigger supplementary files, the authors should include a file containing the download instructions with a link to the external data source. If the authors do not have the resources to provide these files on an external server, please contact the JSS editors at .

Code can be in any language. The majority of software published in JSS is written in R, MATLAB, Python, SAS/IML, C++, or Java. It will be more difficult to find appropriate referees for software written in other languages and authors might have to accept longer review times.

Code needs to include the GNU General Public Licence (GPL), versions GPL-2 or GPL-3, or a GPL-compatible license for publication in JSS.

Manuscript Preparation

Manuscripts must be written in English using the LaTeX text processing system. The JSS style files must be used for formatting the manuscript. Only PDF files can be submitted. It is the responsibility of the authors to provide a submission in the appropriate format, paying very close attention to the style instructions. Manuscripts not meeting the formal requirements will be returned to the authors immediately. JSS has no resources to help authors with conversions from other typesetting environments, so we strongly advise authors who need assistance to find a local LaTeX expert. The zip archive includes examples. Also, a manual with more detailed instructions is available for download. There is no page limit, nor a limit on the number of figures or tables. Manuscripts longer than 30 pages typically require much longer review times. However, more important for the review times incurred might be that the manuscript is carefully written exhibiting high readability.

All figures, tables, and other output presented in the manuscript must be fully and exactly reproducible on at least one platform. Ideally, reproducibility should be ensured across platforms as well and, if this case cannot be attained, the manuscript should discuss the reasons for such a limitation. Please indicate any platform dependencies with the submission. Make sure to initialize the generator for pseudo random numbers if the results rely on some form of simulation. Typically, reproducibility is demonstrated by a standalone replication script. As a rough guideline, anybody with sufficient technical background should be able to install the software and to run the replication material within reasonable time.

Review Process

The software and manuscript will be peer reviewed by the statistical software community. Following initial review, the editor-in-chief selects a section editor, the section editor selects two reviewers (one of whom can be the section editor). The review has two parts: both the software and the manuscript are reviewed. The software should work as indicated, be clearly documented, and serve a useful purpose. Reviewers are instructed to evaluate both correctness and usefulness. Special emphasis is given on the reproducibility of the results presented in the submission.

The possible editorial decisions are:

  • Reject Decisions

    • decline (editorial reject),
    • reject (after review, possibly after revision)
  • Revise Decisions

    • resubmit for review (will go back to both reviewers and editor),
    • revision required (will only go back to editor)
  • Accept Decisions
    • (conditional) accept

Revisions, in any state of the review process, must always be submitted together with a point-to-point reply to the points made by reviewers and editors.

Manuscripts rejected by JSS cannot be resubmitted. We hope the review process gives the authors sufficient information to submit to another journal.

If a revision is not received back from the authors within six months of a revision being requested, the paper will be considered to be withdrawn.

If a conditionally accepted paper is not brought into final form within a year, the paper will be considered to be withdrawn.

Publishing Process

Accept decisions are always conditional on delivering a manuscript that satisfies the JSS style and reproducibility requirements. It is the responsibility of the author to make sure the manuscript conforms with the JSS requirements. Accepted manuscripts that do not satisfy these requirements cannot be published. Each published article will be a separate issue. Issues are published in volumes.

Submission - Step by Step

Registration

To submit a new manuscript you must be registered. Be sure to update your role after registration as Author: Able to submit items to the journal via the My Profile link.

Change role to author.

Change role to author.

Step 1. Starting the Submission

To begin uploading a new submission use this link which redirects to the first out of four steps of the submission process.

The first step is for telling us what type of submission you are making and acknowledgement of our conditions. There is also space to add a comment to the editors. After reading and accepting each point you can use the Save and continue button to go to the second step.

Step 2. Uploading the Submission

During this step authors should provide the submission manuscript in PDF format and all additional material for the submission.

Click the Add File button and select the PDF manuscript on your computer. After uploading the new file has to be assigned to the appropriate type. For the manuscript click “PDF Manuscript”.

Uploading the PDF manuscript.

Uploading the PDF manuscript.

Any additional material (everything but the manuscript) should be submitted during this step of the submission process too. This may include

  • software package,
  • reproduction script,
  • reproduction material (data) and
  • reference material (e.g., a related paper by the authors).

The upload works the same way as for the PDF manuscript by clicking on Add File and chosing the corresponding file on your computer. After uploading click on “Other” to assign the newly uploaded file to one of the categories.

Uploading the manuscript.

Uploading the manuscript.

Once all the files have been uploaded, you can go on to the next step with the Save and continue button.

Step 3. Entering the Submission's Metadata

The next step is to enter metadata for the submission. For JSS we require the title, abstract and list of contributors. The system automatically adds your account information as first author but you can manipulate the details. Additional authors are added with the Add contributer button.

Again, Save and continue brings you to the last step.

Step 4. Confirming the Submission

In this step you should confirm your submission. If changes are necessary you can go back to one of the three previous steps by clicking the relevant tab.

After double checking the submission content you can submit by clicking the Finish Submission button. This will initiate a second confirmation dialog box, confirming that you intend to submit to the editors.

Going back to provide changes.

Going back to provide changes.

Providing Revised Material

It may happen that revisions are necessary as part of the review process. The manuscript can be uploaded from the submissions REVIEW page.

Revised supplementary files should be uploaded as new files with disambiguating names. In particular, version numbers within the file name help editors and reviewers to distinguish between provided revisions.

To upload revised files navigate to the Revision section of the page (beneath the decision and any reviewer attachments) and click Upload File.
The Upload File button directs you to a page where metadata and the file itself can be uploaded and specified.

Upload revised files.

Upload revised files.

Only one file can be uploaded at a time, the system will lead you through the required steps.

Select appropriate component (type of file uploaded).

Select appropriate component (type of file uploaded).

Please repeat this process for all files needed and make sure everything has been uploaded before proceeding. In case a mistake happens click the blue triangle to the left of an upload to unfold the menu where you can delete a file.

Edit or delete uploaded files.

Edit or delete uploaded files.

Once all the files for the revision have been uploaded and your revision is complete, please click add discussion and enter a comment to let the editor know that your revision is ready for review.